For many people, affiliate marketing seems to be shrouded in mystery. With so much misinformation on the internet, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. Conflicting opinions about what affiliate marketing is and how it works often confuses brands and businesses, so they avoid it in favor of other channels.
But many of the myths around affiliate marketing are simply untrue. They muddy the waters and stop people from making informed decisions about whether it’s right for their business. So, in this article, we address four of the most common myths about affiliate marketing, so you have all the facts you need to decide if it’s something to pursue.
#1 – Affiliate Marketing Is Outdated
Affiliate marketing is sometimes relegated to the ‘outdated’ ideas pile, along with pyramid schemes and MySpace ads. Some people think of it as an old-school strategy that isn’t suited to the modern web environment. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Affiliate marketing has been around a long time, but it’s evolved and developed over the years. Perhaps in the past, some people were guilty of using spammy linking techniques that gave affiliate marketing a bad reputation. But in 2018, quality content and meaningful relationships are at the heart of successful marketing. And these are two things that affiliate programs use to full advantage.
#2 – Affiliate Marketing Only Works in Popular Niches
Many people assume that affiliate marketing will only work for businesses in popular niches. They see web hosting companies and email software providers offering affiliate programs and think it’s only suited to the business sector. Or hear about health and fitness companies running huge affiliate promotions and assume that it only works because of their popularity. But in reality, this isn’t the way things work.
Successful affiliate marketing is about building the right partnerships. Whether you work in a large or small niche, there will be publishers out there who can support your marketing efforts. They’ll often have a dedicated audience of hardcore fans who value their insights and respect their opinion. So, a higher proportion of their followers will buy products that they recommend.
Publishers spend years cultivating their followers. They consistently post quality content, earn the trust of their audience, and develop a relationship where they’re seen as an authority. Affiliate marketing allows you to tap into this and leverage their existing relationship. Even if your niche doesn’t seem very popular, you may be surprised by how many sales you can generate.
#3 – More Affiliates Means More Sales
Attracting lots of publishers doesn’t automatically result in more sales. Like many aspects of business, quality beats quantity every time. A successful approach doesn’t require an army of affiliates to promote your content. Instead, it relies on dedicated publishers with an audience that closely matches your ideal clients.
We often see the 80:20 rule coming true for affiliates – 20% of the publishers will drive 80% of the commissions. These all-star bloggers, YouTubers, and Instagrammers all approach brand promotion in a considered way, which translates into much higher conversions from their channels. So, instead of trying to recruit lots of partners, focus on attracting those who have a level of credibility and already produce quality content.
#4 – Affiliate Programs Are Completely Passive
Prospective clients will often ask us if affiliate marketing is a passive channel. They might have heard that there’s no work involved once it’s set up and think the idea of a passive income sounds appealing. And we can’t blame them, who wouldn’t want money for nothing?! But in reality, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. So, although affiliate marketing is an efficient channel, it’s can’t run itself entirely.
It is true that the bulk of the work is done up front. Creating the program terms, collateral, web banners, and so on does take time. Recruiting high-quality affiliate publishers can also be time-consuming unless you’re working with an agency who’ll take care of it. But once the initial work is done, then the workload shifts to supporting the program’s success.
Adding affiliate promotions, updating creative content, and resolving publisher queries is part and parcel of running a successful program. In order for it to grow and develop, it needs to be managed like any other marketing project. Depending on the size of your affiliate network and scope of your product range, this can take anything from a few hours a week to full-time support. But the high returns and low risk mean this channel is absolutely worth any effort that’s required.
Advertise Purple is the #1 affiliate management agency in the USA. We help clients across the country to super-charge their affiliate revenue and get the most out of the channel. In fact, our clients see an average of 131% growth in affiliate sales within our first six months of campaign management. So, if you’re looking to start an affiliate program or want advice on improving an existing one, our team can help. Simply send us a message using the form below, call us at 424.272.7400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!